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School nets funds to expand

PS/IS 87 in Middle Village is set to get a long-anticipated expansion after the city Department of Education granted capital improvement projects.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Shovels are finally in the ground at a much-anticipated expansion project at a Middle Village school.

In a move that officials said would relieve overcrowding in School District 24, the city Department of Education began construction of an addition that will bring new classrooms, a new music room, a gym and extra bathrooms to PS/IS 87 in Middle Village.

The school, south of Metropolitan Avenue at 67-54 80th St., expanded its population to serve middle school students in 2002, but the building itself remained the original size and soon it became apparent an expansion was needed. According to data from the DOE, the school was listed at 99 percent of student capacity last year.

In November 2009, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) toured the school with DOE officials, pointing out the desperate need for improvements to the learning institution.

“Parents deserve to send their children to a local school with small class sizes and the resources necessary to ensure a quality education,” said Crowley. “This new extension will help PS/IS 87 meet these goals.”

Crowley also met with then-city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to plead the school’s case.

Klein visited the school for a Community Education Council 24 meeting in April 2010, when he was met with hundreds of parents and students voicing their support for an extension to the facility. Following the meeting, and a letter-writing campaign by Crowley and parents, the DOE added the $24 million project to its capital improvement budget, which was approved by the Council in July 2010.

According to CEC 24 officials, the school district has the worst overcrowding in the city’s school system and needs more than 4,300 new classroom seats to accommodate the district’s children. School District 24 includes parts of Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Glendale, Forest Hills, Rego Park and Elmhurst.

Last month, representatives with Christ the King Regional High School held a public hearing calling for a charter school to open within their school, at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. Michael Michel, president at Christ the King and a founding member of the potential school’s board of trustees, said overcrowding in the school’s district led him to push for a new charter school.

For now, Crowley said the expansion at PS/IS 87 will help children in the neighborhood get the education they need.

“Whether it’s working on their jump shots or learning the clarinet, students will finally have the proper facilities in smaller class sizes for a well-rounded education,” said Crowley. “I was proud to work with the Department of Education and the Middle Village community to get this project started.”

Crowley said the community had been neglected by numerous city agencies for years, denying critical improvement projects. The councilwoman said she will continue to push the city Department of Design and Construction to completely renovate the area’s roadways and sewer lines.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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